Archives: November 2012
Preparing your phone system for a storm
November 1st, 2012
As an assist to clients affected by hurricane Sandy this week, we posted information about how to prepare for a big storm and keep communication flowing during the storm. We’re posting it here for reference, since winter is nearly upon us. We hope it will be helpful to any of you that may experience storms in the coming months.
There are some important things you can do to make sure your Virtual PBX phone system keeps your business connected during a storm. Virtual PBX systems are in a hardened co-location facility that is part of the national infrastructure. It has multiple sources of power and connection, coming in through different feeds, and is unlikely to be affected by any storm, no matter how severe. We’ll take your calls as long as the phone companies are still delivering them. The issue is making sure you have some place for us to send them.Whether you’re using our standard Virtual PBX Service or our disaster recovery product, PBX Parachute, we recommend that you do the following:
- Figure out which extensions in your system are the most important for uninterrupted phone calls. This may be all of your extensions.
- Talk with the extension owners for those extensions and get alternative phone numbers where they can be reached during the storm. Suggestions include cellular phones (many cell phones will work even if power is down), home phones if they are staying in town, or phone numbers of relatives they will visit if they are leaving the storm area.
- Change the Call Routing for each of these extensions to include the alternate phone numbers. If there is a specific number they want to be tried first, make that the “Default” number. You can exclude office phone numbers if you are sure the employees won’t be at their office phones.
- Be sure that employees know how to update their Call Routing list as things change. This can be done through any browser or from your smartphone via one of our free apps. Just download the Virtual PBX app from the iPhone App Store or Google Play. If your employees need to learn how to do this, they should run our short Extension Owner QuickStart training.
- Let all of your employees make sure they know how to reach someone in charge if things go wrong, whether it’s related to the phone system, or not. Most companies could benefit from an emergency contact list, that can be used to let people know what’s going on, status of the office, and information about other workers. The best way to do this is to decide which Virtual PBX extensions people should call.
Most important of all, please be safe. We sincerely hope that all goes well with your people, as well as your business. Our thoughts are with you.
The VirtualPBX Team
FREE iPhone and Android App from Virtual PBX
September 28th, 2012
Who doesn’t love free apps? If you have a smart phone, you love apps and there are a ton of them out there providing quick, easy and convenient ways to access nearly everything. And thanks to Virtual PBX, there is now a new free app for you to love.
Virtual PBX has released a helpful new application which breaks the mold in the Hosted PBX Market. Virtual PBX Extension Manager, the new free application for Apple iOS and android devices, makes it easy for Virtual PBX customers to have access to all of the most-used functions of their phone system, directly from their iPhones.
“We’re excited to introduce the first business extension management app with this advanced level of functionality for iPhone users,” said Paul Hammond, CEO of Virtual PBX. “As an iPhone user myself, I love to have the Virtual PBX features I use the most right at my fingertips, and I am certain our customers will appreciate it, too.”
Using a simple, intuitive interface users can manage extensions on multiple Virtual PBX accounts, mark their extensions as unavailable, and even redirect incoming business calls to any of up to four different phones. Virtual PBX’s free application also includes iPhone-based presence management, a feature exclusive to Virtual PBX.
The Virtual PBX Extension Manager App makes presence management available through the user’s phone, allowing them to log in and out of queues as needed. With the use of exclusive intelligent queue algorithms, Virtual PBX reduces caller hold times by not forcing calls to extensions where no one will answer. This means better efficiency for the customer and happier callers. And who doesn’t want happier callers? Have happier callers with the new free app from Virtual PBX.
Virtual PBX Complete is a Complete Success
June 7th, 2012
Nine Consecutive Awards and Huge Growth for VirtualPBX Complete
Called a “cream of the crop” service by its customers, the latest award wining service from Virtual PBX, Virtual PBX Complete, quickly worked its way to the upper echelon of VoIP solutions, delivering an unparalleled complete business phone service.
Unlike other hosted PBX services, VirtualPBX Complete supports the blending of analog and IP telephony while simultaneously incorporating open SIP peering. Eliminating the need for proprietary software and delivering the freedom and flexibility to carry business extensions anywhere around the world through a smartphone, Virtual PBX complete is becoming an essential element for running a successful business.
“The need for business VoIP solutions is high, and we’re excited to have been able to launch such a strong product,” said Greg Brashier, CMO of Virtual PBX.
Since its launch, VirtualPBX Complete has been recognized by several publications including Information Week, eWEEK and TMCnet receiving the following nine awards:
VirtualPBX announced continued strong growth in the 15 months since the launch of its award-winning VirtualPBX Complete business VoIP solution in February 2011, citing a 49.9 percent rise in traffic though the company’s hosted PBX system. With Virtual PBX’s expertise in technology and ability to create some of the most innovative products and services on the market, it is easy to see why they are so popular.
Hosted VoIP PBX Gives You Competitive Enterprise Features
May 17th, 2012
In today’s business world, staying competitive is imperative to running a strong, successful business. To gain a competitive edge, it is important to continuously incorporate new technologies customized to meet customer or client needs while managing costs to stay in budget.
Many businesses today are turning to VoIP to stay competitive. According to recent studies, 50 percent of medium businesses (100-999 employees) claim VoIP will become critical to their business. In-Stat forecasts that active VoIP subscriber rates will triple in 2012, growing from 9 million in 2011 to 29 million.
Virtual PBX offers a business VoIP system that will give you the competitive edge with enterprise features. Here are a few of the key features and advantages of switching to hosted VoIP that will keep your business on the cutting edge…
Enhanced Productivity – Many productivity-enhancing features previously available only through expensive add-ons to traditional PBXs come standard with VoIP from Virtual PBX. These features include advanced call routing, auto attendant, “find me/follow me”, day and night modes, ACD Queues, custom greetings, and caller ID.
Advanced ACD Queues – Virtual PBX offers the most sophisticated ACD capability of any hosted system, through our TrueACD™ technology, an advanced technology that prioritizes, ranks, and manages both the incoming callers and the people waiting to take the calls. ACD queuing is a critical business function, especially for call centers, and needs to be as robust and feature-rich as possible to allow the maximum flexibility for your company.
Work from Anywhere – With a hosted VoIP PBX from Virtual PBX, you can easily work from any location using a VoIP phone, a cellular phone or even a home phone. And you can quickly and easily access the advanced features of your phone system from any location. Simply connect to the Internet and log into your VoIP phone to have access to all the information available in your office system 24/7.
Low total cost of ownership – Analysis show that Virtual PBX VoIP can reduce an organization’s monthly phone costs by 40-80%. Virtual PBX Plans start at just $9.99 per month, or you can get unlimited minutes for as little as $19.99 per user.
Virtual PBX works seamlessly with your existing business environment, helping employees use their phones as efficiently as possible. Virtual PBX’s VoIP Business system has proven beneficial again and again in boosting productivity, increasing customer service and cutting costs.
Save Money with GeoRoute®
March 21st, 2012
Many companies are not taking full advantage of the advanced technology available in telecom today. When used, this technology can greatly improve operations, and help you to provide better customer service.
Virtual PBX® offers the most complete and sophisticated hosted solution available today. One great example of this is our unique GeoRoute® feature, which can forward calls automatically to the right employee, ACD queue, or business location before you even answer the phone – based on the location of the originating number.
Here is an example: Let’s say you want to have calls from the western United States go to one sales agent, and those from the eastern part of the country go to someone else. With GeoRoute from Virtual PBX, we’ll monitor the caller ID of incoming calls and automatically route the calls based on area code.
Want another example? Imagine a franchise operation that wants to publish one national toll-free number but wants calls automatically routed to the franchise closest to the caller. GeoRoute will direct incoming customer calls to the appropriate franchise based on the geographic boundaries you create. This way, you can make sure the right franchise gets the call with no human intervention. In addition, as the calls complete at the franchise locations, the franchise headquarters don’t incur any expense from these calls.
Furthermore, with GeoRoute, there is no need for a central receptionist, and call charges don’t start until you answer the call, so expenses stay low.
There are a number of ways to implement GeoRoute. You can route calls based on just the area code, the area code and exchange, or the entire number. In addition, you may route calls the following ways:
- Inside the answering system, transferring the call to an employee extension or ACD queue.
- To a completely different phone system, such as a remote branch office or a different business.
Our telecom expertise, combined with unmatched flexibility and excellent customer service, allow us to solve your call routing challenges to help you build business and save money.
Save Money and Increase Productivity with SelectRoute™
March 2nd, 2012
Virtual PBX® pioneered ACD queuing for virtual phone systems, and is still way ahead of the competition. ACD queues are used when the caller wants to reach a business function, such as sales or customer service, instead of an individual. Usually, these callers won’t have a name, they just have a need.
However, some businesses want to route calls to an extension or ACD queue that is not a standard business function. This is where SelectRoute™ comes in.
SelectRoute offers call routing capabilities beyond the standard routing features offered by ACD queues. Instead of simply routing the call to the next available agent or a generic queue, SelectRoute routes the call based on direct user input that specifies how the call is to be handled so the call is routed to the correct agent.
Our SelectRoute option lets you route calls automatically based on a wide set of user inputs up to nine digits in length. Ask the user to spell out a product name, a company name, or an account number. The possibilities are limitless with Virtual PBX.
Below are common types of instructions that SelectRoute can support:
- Route calls by geography: Area code & zip code– Route calls by NPA (Area Code), NPA-NXX (Area and Exchange Codes), Zip Code.Have multiple store locations or franchises seamlessly route calls to a single phone number by area code or zip code to the nearest location.
- Menu Routing – Route calls by menu selection
- Custom Routing – Route calls according to your own defined needs. We’ve had clients route to different queues or extension based on the caller entering a model number or a product name.
You can even combine these call routing types to form customized routing to provide the best customer service and to enable your business to operate at optimum efficiency. They can also improve your businesses cost performance by increasing agent utilization and productivity.
A typical business often handles a variety of call types, each requiring a specific skill. The traditional method of reassigning agents with multiple skills to different queues at different times of the day in order make best use of their skills is inefficient.
Virtual PBX and SelectRoute alleviate this problem and enables your business to automatically route calls to the right agents, at the right time regardless of where the agents are located.
With SelectRoute you can even have custom greetings such as “To find the store nearest you, please enter your 5 digit zip code now”. Your caller enters their zip code, and your Virtual PBX system will route them to the appropriate extension or queue. It’s that easy.
But what if the caller enters the wrong information? Don’t worry. We have that covered. In this case, SelectRoute will route the call anywhere you choose, so your caller still gets help even on a bad data entry.
SelectRoute by Virtual PBX will help you create the best custom call routing system designed to fit your needs and send your callers to the right people quickly and easily every time. For more information, please contact our Support team, or call us at 888-825-0800.
Three More Ways to Use Virtual PBX
February 8th, 2012
Create Podcasts – Podcasts are basically audio recordings that can be posted online and downloaded by anyone. Today, more and more businesses and individuals are choosing to communicate via podcasts as an alternative to radio and blogs. Unlike radio and T.V., podcasts are free to subscribe to and create. Interested in creating your own podcast?
Lucky for you, Virtual PBX makes it easy for you to record your own podcast right from your phone. Simply use Virtual PBX’s call recording feature to record an interview, discussion or anything else you want to share with the world. Every Virtual PBX system includes call recording at no added cost. In addition, the call recording feature is greatly customizable and easy to use. Every user with a Virtual PBX extension can record all calls automatically or select calls to record manually by simply pushing #9 during a call.
Have an alternate number – While having a single incoming business number gives your business a unified presence, it can often be very useful to have multiple incoming business numbers. In fact, every Virtual PBX plan can have an unlimited amount of phone numbers as part of the system.
Anyone can benefit from having multiple phone numbers. Let’s say, for example, you want to use one group of employees to answer phone calls for several different business identities. Virtual PBX can answer calls with different greetings on each incoming line and then route the calls to those employees. A preview announcement indicates which business identity was called, so the employee can answer correctly.
Another popular use for multiple numbers is to track response to marketing campaigns. Each advertisement or other marketing activity can include a different telephone number for prospects to get more information. Tracking the incoming activity on each phone number gives a real-time indication of which marketing activity is generating the most calls.
Get a soft phone – Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a full-featured Virtual PBX VoIP phone. Using VoIP phones with your Virtual PBX system adds great new features like direct extension to extension dialing.
Do you want to keep your personal cell phone number private? When you dial out using a softphone registered to VPBX, the caller ID you send is your Virtual PBX number, not your personal cell phone number.
In addition, by making calls through your Virtual PBX system, you can avoid roaming charges. With VoIP Anywhere, you can make calls from around the world through your softphone and Wi-Fi connection, getting U.S. dial tone for free. Don’t waste your money on costly international roaming fees. Call Virtual PBX today and save yourself some hard earned cash.
VirtualPBX Introduces VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere for iPhones, Android Phones and Computers
September 21st, 2011
VoIP Anywhere streamlines VoIP bandwidth requirements to allow VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections
In modern day business, the ability for workers to stay connected wherever they are is invaluable. Traveling to international destinations, working in between their homes and their offices, people are constantly on the move and having a phone service that can keep up with them is crucial.
Although cell phones are great for taking important calls when away from the office, the costs of calling are high, especially when it comes to roaming charges. Furthermore, dialing out from a mobile phone shows the user’s personal caller ID, not the company’s phone number.
VirtualPBX now offers a cost effective way to stay in contact with anyone, anywhere with its newest enhancement to VirtualPBX Complete – VoIP Anywhere. Customers can now use their smartphones and computers as VoIP handsets with complete business phone system capabilities. This is drastically cheaper than cellular roaming, long distance charges, and hotel room rates. VoIP Anywhere is very inexpensive, flexible, and functional, offering advanced functionality at a fraction of the price. With VoIP Anywhere, your smartphone becomes your office extension, receiving calls just like you were at a hardware VoIP phone, as well as displaying your company’s caller ID information when you make outbound calls. In addition, VirtualPBX announced support for HD Voice for HD-capable devices.
“Our launch of VirtualPBX Complete has generated tremendous demand from our customers. As they embrace our system, they are increasingly seeking the freedom to access their VoIP business features on any device, wherever they are,” said Greg Brashier, COO of VirtualPBX. “By introducing VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, we are delivering that freedom and flexibility to carry their business extension anywhere in the world.”
Because of VirtualPBX’s commitment to open systems, users can avoid the high costs of proprietary software and choose the option that best fits their needs. With VoIP Anywhere, turning your computer or smartphone into a VoIP Extension is easy. Just register any softphone, such as those available for Android phones, iPhones and computers, as a VoIP device in the VirtualPBX service to access VoIP Anywhere capabilities. Once registered, simply open the softphone application to make calls and access all of VirtualPBX’s system features, such as business caller ID for outbound calls, call recording, call transfers, presence management and reporting. By reducing bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls, VirtualPBX allows high-quality calls to be placed over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections.
New System Features
- Calls from ANY device: With VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, turning your smartphone or computer into a full-featured VoIP phone is simple. Using any standard softphone and a minimum of a 3G connection, any device can be accessed through your existing Virtual PBX number.
- U.S dial tone: VoIP Anywhere provides a U.S. dial tone while avoiding high international dialing rates. Dialing a U.S. number from an international location can even be free with VirtualPBX’s flat-rate packages.
- HD voice: The new VoIP Anywhere system negotiates HD voice on any HD device. If the device you are using supports HD, then the call can automatically be connected with HD quality.
- Business caller ID: Calls made from a VirtualPBX extension can send the company’s phone number for caller ID. With VoIP Anywhere, mobile users no longer need to worry about giving out their personal cellular numbers while making business calls, and contacts know how to get back in touch with the company, not just the individual.
Learn more about VoIP Anywhere capabilities here.
How to Prepare your Small Business for Summer
June 23rd, 2011
Spring is over and summer has finally arrived. People are turning off their computers and heading out for fun in the sun. Unfortunately, your business can’t close for the summer, but there is no reason why your business can’t have an enjoyable, successful summer season. So what are you going to do to prepare your business for summer?
Take a worry free vacation
It can be very stressful for business owners to be away from the office on vacation. Worrying about missing an important call or losing potential customers can keep you from enjoying a much needed relaxing vacation. With Virtual PBX, your vacations can always be stress free.
By setting up Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature, extension owners can create a list of phone numbers where they will be available, such as the number of a hotel line, their vacation home, or cell phone. With follow-me from Virtual PBX, you never have to miss an important call because you’re on vacation. We can reach you any place there is a phone.
Work outside and enjoy the long summer days
This is another great way you can use Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature. Work from a park, your back yard, the beach or anywhere you want to soak up some rays.
Let voicemail screen your calls
When you are on vacation or enjoying the summer with family, allow yourself to return only those calls that are truly important or emergencies. With every Virtual PBX extension you can listen to callers as they leave you a voicemail message. If you need to take the call, simply press the ‘#’ key to interrupt the caller and start talking live.
Check your voicemail via email
You can even have your messages routed to your email as .wav files so you can listen to them from your computer. Or if you prefer, messages are also available through our Virtual PBX browser-based web portal. All you need are headphones or speakers.
Promote a summer sale or Event
Use Virtual PBX to promote a summer sale by using our Online Greeting Manager to upload a new auto-attendant greeting. You can upload your own, record by phone, or order them through the Virtual PBX studios.
Change your Summer Hours
Maybe you’ve increased or decreased your hours for summer. Use the Day/Night mode settings in your Virtual PBX to play a day mode greeting and a night mode greeting, adjusting the hours per day that you are open. During night mode, you can send all calls to voicemail so you can enjoy a quiet evening!
Virtual PBX and PrintsMadeEasy Fight Confusion From Joplin Devastation With Volunteer Support Line
June 2nd, 2011
Volunteers Field Calls for Victims Using the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook Page
24 minutes is all the warning the residents of Joplin received to prepare for the F5 tornado that would completely flatten three miles of this small city in Missouri. The devastating tornado has been declared the most deadly in years, leaving in its path at least 139 victims and over 100 missing people.
Surrounded by the mayhem left by the tornado, PrintsMadeEasy (http://www.printsmadeeasy.com) saw first hand that communicating reliable information was nearly impossible and quickly becoming a critical issue. They were determined to help the people of Joplin stay connected by setting-up a support line for the victims and volunteers. Susie Matthews, online operations director at PrintsMadeEasy, quickly contacted Virtual PBX (http://www.virtualpbx.com/), enlisting their support.
As a longtime customer of Virtual PBX, Susie knew the hosted phone service would be the perfect solution, allowing volunteers to answer questions about drop-off sites for donations, locations of volunteers and hospitals, and to take down missing-person updates.
Virtual PBX responded by providing PrintsMadeEasy with additional phone lines, a local number and automatic call distribution (ACD) queues to help manage the increase in inbound calls. This support line fields calls for the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page created by PrintsMadeEasy to help the people of Joplin stay connected.
“Because we’re so close to the disaster in Joplin, we did not want to just sit back and watch, especially since most of us are familiar with the places that were hit,” says Matthews. “Virtual PBX has been great by donating its hosted phone system, which has worked well for us in the past, along with a local number for people to call. We encourage anyone interested in joining us in our efforts to give us a call.”
As PrintsMadeEasy donates their free time to taking calls and updating the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/joplintornadoinfo), they may soon need more volunteers. With Virtual PBX, Matthews can quickly and easily create additional extensions for volunteers. PrintsMadeEasy and other volunteers can even make and receive calls on-the-go, as Virtual PBX can allow calls to be directed to any phones anywhere. Volunteers currently working outside the affected area can now provide immediate response.
Such an influx of support and aid required organization, and Virtual PBX was glad to be able to offer some much needed assistance.
“When a longtime customer calls asking for practical help to provide a vital service like their support line, the only reasonable response is ‘yes,'” says Paul Hammond, CEO of Virtual PBX. “After viewing the devastation, it’s heartening to know that we can provide assistance that makes a difference, and we’re grateful to Susie and her team for their hard work. We’re glad we could help.”
To follow along on Facebook about any needs you may have regarding the Joplin disaster please visit http://www.facebook.com/joplintornadoinfo for more information.